Despite having all summer to prepare for the dreaded "L-word", I recently realized that a lockout is a very distinct possibility in just over a month. After finally having the NHL return to Winnipeg after a 15-year absence, and having the Jets fly once again in the River City, there appears to be a very good chance that the MTS Centre will be dark this fall. And I am quite distraught about this.
The previous lockout in 2004-05 didn't really matter to most of us here in Winnipeg, as we obviously didn't have our own franchise in the NHL at that time. In fact, the lockout was a nice treat for us here in the 'Peg, as Manitoba Moose fans had the pleasure of watching future Canucks stars Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Alexandre Burrows don the antlers for pretty much the full season. The NHL's loss was the AHL's gain.
But things are different now. After that 15-year absence, we have witnessed the return of the NHL to our fair city. And we loved it. We couldn't get enough. We were loud, we were proud and we were pumped to be back in the big leagues. We cheered our heads off for Andrew Ladd, Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler and co. all season. And now you're telling me that we might not have hockey this fall? Oh well, at least we will have the Manitoba Moos.... oh, crap. We don't have them anymore. So, you are telling me that there will no professional hockey in Winnipeg this season if the owners lock the players out? What are we, as Winnipeg Jets fans, supposed to do?